Hi guys,
I’ve flown the tutor and I want to have a flight in something else. How do I go about getting on a differend aircraft. Also I do know I won’t be able to fly it but I want to have a trip in a plane that isnt the Viking or tutor.

I love the enthusiasm, but there’s very little you can do to guarantee a flight in other RAF / military aircraft - we’re at the whim of the services and they tend to have very little spare capacity for us.

There is a chance that if you go on a visit to a station, or a camp, that you might get a flight on aircraft based there, but it’s a small chance and not one you should assume will happen.

Air experience days, when RAF helicopters visit an airfield for a day and allow cadets to have quick trips, are happening more often, but they still might only happen only once a year.

Talk to your sqn staff about the next chance they think your wing might get.

If you want a flight in ‘anything’, then you can look into local flying clubs and see what they have available. Note, though, that this will almost certainly cost money (and quite a lot, too) and will have nothing to do with cadets.


As a flying ACLO I love this! It’s so tough for us to fly Cadets in Jets now. When I was younger I volunteered with the local AEF, washing dishes through the day, collecting lunches etc but invariably getting up at the end of the day as a reward. I wrote to every ACLO … literally! And then jumped on trains with my bike and pottered about to bases and trying to get up close to aeroplanes. I’m not recommending you solo travel, I know times have changed. But enthusiasm is difficult to keep a lid on.

My approach if I were you … consider the dates for Summer Camps at flying stations in the RAF, and then start to shortlist likely opportunities… is it a single seat jet base? If so, chalk it off … no chance but possibly a sim ride. Do they have seats down the back? If so keep it on the short list.

Then write to the ACLO with a solution … tell them all about your flying ambition and what you think you’d get out of it. Suggest being accommodated with the main camp body and that takes care of life support. Don’t expect to fly but request it politely and see what happens. I flew in most everything when I used this approach back in the days when we had Easter camps and summer camps literally everywhere - I’d certainly be receptive to trying to make it work for the right individual/s now. Alas getting rides in jets is a lot tougher than when I was younger and chanced my luck for rides in the Harrier and Jag!

Just being around jet fuel and flying suits will keep the passion burning for flying! Let me know if you’re going to Duxford Air Festival or RIAT - I’m taking a static display jet in and we can chat more if it would help.

Cheers - LeeH

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Sounds good and a bit Famous 5 go to the RAF.
What you suggest is OK now if you live somewhere along the A1 between Peterborough and Newark, when you may well live easy travelling distances to RAF stations with some aircraft. Our nearest flying station is 2½ hrs drive or 4 hours by train, if there are no problems.
Also the station will need to have someone DBSd to look after them and chaperone them and I’m not sure that random U18s could be on the station unaccompanied and I’m not sure how hotels etc work wrt lone U18s. Then there are all the other boring things like insurance, Risk Assessments etc etc, which prevent work experience opportunities.
Individuals don’t get to choose where they go on annual camps and even if it was an operational station it would have to be the right one and correct alignment of stars. I remember going to (in the late 70s) Rudloe Manor and Lyneham as a cadet and getting so much time in the backs of Hercs it was boring. Roll on 28 years and a camp at Lyneham resulted in 3 flights for the whole camp (we got that each back in the day) and when I asked why, I was told that back then there were a lot more training and famil sessions for crews actually in the aircraft, whereas then the latest flight sims were so realistic the flight deck crew didn’t need to be up in the air as much, plus there wasn’t as many.

The best option is save up and buy flights at a local flying school or gliding club, which are not at the whim or vagueness of AEF/VGS availability and there is every chance you would a go with the stick as well. Might not be RAF aircraft but it would be getting airborne. If you lived close enough to one volunteer to help (as long as there were people with DBS’ and insurance etc, that might get the occasional freebie.

@Teflon it’s a shame to read what you write.

I regularly got the sleeper train … time to travel wasn’t a barrier, and agree on the DBS front. But an ACLO team plus resident Adult Staff that always significantly outnumbers the Cadet liability on a Stn more than cater to it.

The key takeaways remain and I’m not alone in my outlook, enthusiasm and passion for flying shouldn’t be capped and there are still ways to get up. Nothing handed out for free and of course the opportunities are more limited but a proactive and solution based approach from members of the Air Cadet community can maximise them.

Stay positive. The Cadet community and the RAF have evolved but the ‘good deals’ still exist.


Why a shame, it’s the reality of the situation.

The problem with flying is that it’s always seems to be only the RAF who fly aircraft, when as like many there are flying clubs that do exactly that and if youngsters were that interested the opportunities locally far outweigh any meagre offerings from the RAF. I know of more young people who get their PPL than do their FS through the ATC/RAF. Having said that only two of them have been cadets.

If as you suggest the opportunities are there for cadets do peel up at an RAF station for a day/weekend, why isn’t this put out there and why is it nigh on impossible for work experience? It would be interesting to know when you were doing it, to gauge the feasibility today vs then, in terms of stations and aircraft.

I think perhaps best I remain out of the discussion … I am certainly positive and optimistic to maintain air mindedness and accommodate as much flying opportunity as is both practically and operationally possible. All the best to you, and for all aspiring aviators - don’t be dissuaded, don’t think the RAF are unaccommodating … and never be afraid of a no.

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@Hodgkii2 - slightly off the tangent idea:

Could you do some informal digging to see how possible it would be for cadets, whether as individuals or in small groups with staff, to get ‘attached’ to flying units for exercises like Joint Warrior?

There’s a huge amount of flying that gets done by helicopters and AT during such exercises - and if a cadet/group of cadets could look after themselves and not place a burden on the host unit then, security aside (and yes, JW has some very sensitive aspects…) could this not be an option?

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I did some digging to see if that was a player this year, and I could share the ATO, but little else. So aside from watching an eclectic mix of aircraft from different nations use the airfield - they would not be getting much more exposure. The sensitivities around the major exercises make them quite closed door in terms of brief and debrief. And even the truckies and helos have some dynamic serials that would prevent carriage of passengers.

I did take a holding officer flying on JW a couple of weeks ago, he is able to experience the full mission cycle with a clearance.

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I see the problem - while I was in we could take cadets and staff along for firing exercises on the 105’s, but whenever anything ISTAR came out to play they were banned.

Have we, realistically, got to the stage where pretty much all operational aircraft are sufficiently sensitive that ransoms like cadets and CFAV’s simply won’t be allowed to get near?

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I don’t believe that to be the case for the majority of our assets.

There are many unclassified aspects of what we do with regards a mission cycle that I think are still open and appealing to engage in.

The finer points always existed even when we were younger, it is just that we are better placed to delineate in the cycle now with shared kit and supportive infrastructure.

I mentioned it earlier in here, but smelling aviation fuel, hearing the cracks of air as an engine bites the morning mist and seeing the wing tips generate vortices.

There’s plenty to still keep the enthusiast keen :slight_smile: